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Loving Leftovers: New Uses for That Old Meatloaf

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

That's My Story, and I'm Sticking With It

I grew up in the 1950s. My parents were young adults during the Great Depression, so they valued all of the blessings that we had—time, money, shelter, and food on the table.

We had one car (very used), a 60-year-old house (that was always in need of repair), a vegetable garden (to supplement food on the table), and a menu rotation that was so predictable you pretty much knew what day of the week it was by stepping into the kitchen rather than looking at the calendar.

Heavy on carbs, light on meat, but liberally dosed with love. Mealtime was not the time for instant-messaging, surfing the net, or playing Candy Crush. Of course, those things didn't exist, but even if they had, I know that they would not have been present at our dinner table. We talked. We shared the day's stories and memories of long ago. We laughed, and we loved one another.

What's the Point of This Story?

Simply stated, we cherished our mealtimes not only for the food but for the togetherness. Times were tough, but we were tougher. No food was wasted (I think it was a sin against the 11th Commandment), but we didn't have "leftovers." We had "planned-overs." That's the way I was raised and the method I use in my own kitchen, even 60+ years later.

I am writing this article, hoping that I might turn it into a semi-regular series; how to use leftovers in a thoughtful, frugal, and tasty way. Last month we focused on leftover mashed potatoes. This month our topic is meatloaf. It makes a great weekday meal, and the leftovers can certainly make a tasty lunchtime cold sandwich, but could they become more? Let's look at some possibilities.

loving-leftovers-meatloaf

Carb Diva Meatloaf Recipe

Before we create the perfect use of meatloaf leftovers, don't we need to have the perfect meatloaf? Just in case you don't (or wonder if there is something better than the recipe you have in your file), here is my version of the perfect meatloaf.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/4 ground turkey sausage, Italian seasoned (I like Jennie-O)
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced (I prep'd mine in the food processor)
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely minced
  • 1 large carrot, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup, (you could substitute another flavor if you wish)
  • 1 pkg. Stove Top stuffing mix (any flavor)
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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease a 11x7-inch baking dish.
  3. Saute the minced onion, celery, and carrot in the olive oil for about 3 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Place in large mixing bowl with ground turkey, turkey sausage, and remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Shape into a loaf and place in the prepared pan. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Meatloaf Egg Scramble

I love brinner (aka breakfast-for-dinner). Kevin dices his leftover meatloaf, sautees in a pan until the edges are crispy, then adds cooked potato, eggs, and some cheese. A tasty hash that you can adapt to whatever you have in your refrigerator and pantry. Don't have cheddar cheese? You could use swiss. Herbs are starting to wilt? Mince and toss them in.

loving-leftovers-meatloaf

Meatloaf Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can refried beans
  • 2 cups leftover meatloaf, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 8 taco shells
  • Suggested garnishes - grated Cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, diced tomato, sour cream, guacamole, chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion.
  • Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the refried beans and cook for 3 minutes more.
  • Add the crumbled meatloaf, chili powder, and tomato sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • Heat the taco shells as directed on the package until crisp and hot.
  • Fill taco shells with taco/meatloaf mixture.
  • Garnish as desired.

Meatloaf Eggrolls

East meets west in this fun fusion of meatloaf tucked into crispy egg rolls. Don't skip the dipping sauce. It's the perfect pop of flavor to take these over the top.

And Other Ideas

  • Use leftover meatloaf in spaghetti sauce in place of cooked ground beef or turkey.
  • Add to chili.
  • Use to top a pizza.
  • Add to macaroni and cheese.
  • Stir into a vegetable or split pea soup.
  • Use in place of cooked ground beef in tater tot casserole.

© 2018 Linda Lum

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